Arles-sur-Tech travel guide

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Arles-sur-Tech is a small town in the Pyrenees-Orientales department of southern France. The town is best known for its abbey and cloister, countryside and picturesque small hamlets nearby.

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Arles-sur-Tech originally developed around the Benedictine Abbey that was built here in the 8th century.

The main square in the town, 'the Place du village', contains the houses which were the first to be built around the abbey and the house at no. 4 hides the original eglise St Etienne which was built in the 10th century.

Villa les Indis

The Abbey Sainte-Marie has a beautiful gothic cloister built in the 13th century  and a large and impressive 18th century organ. Its most curious item though is a 4th century sarcophagus which once contained the relics of Saints Abdon and Sennen and continuously (and apparently inexplicably) secretes water.

The town hall in Arles-sur-Tech is housed in the Villa les Indis. This building is a curious hotch potch of architectural styles such as neo-gothique, neo baroque, neo roman, Art Nouveau and Belle Epoque. It was built at the begining of the 20th century and has a pleasant garden in front of it.

As such I'm sure it would be held in contempt by architectural purists - indeed it is not even mentioned in the town's tourist literature but I thought this town hall was a lovely quirky building.

The town itself had three entrances in the 14th century and one of these, an arched stone gateway, leads to the 'le Barri d'Amunt' with its impressive houses with balconies and attractive doorways. These were once the homes of the rich families of Arles-sur-Tech.


Places to visit nearby

Head up into the hills from Arles-sur-Tech and there are two charming villages to visit nearby called Corsavy and Montferrer.


At 768 metres altitude Corsavy is a small attractive village surrounded by wooded mountains. The drive to the village passes through beautiful scenery and on arrival you can admire the ancient houses, signal tower and its church. There are various walks from the village that you can do.


Montferrer is another pretty mountain village at 830 metres altitude and sits below the ruins of a chateau from which you can see as far as the sea. The church was built in the 12th century and has a 14th century sarcophagus.

There is a small museum in Montferrer which tells the history of a famous group of Catalan bandits known as the "Trabucayres". Again there are a number of walks that you can do from here.

Montferrer village near Arles-sur-Tech

Other local attractions

Arles-sur-Tech is just 13 kilometres from the lovely town of Ceret and we suggest you make time to visit during your stay here.

You can find more travel ideas in the Pyrenees-Orientales guide and the Languedoc-Roussillon guide.

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Map of Arles-sur-Tech and places nearby


Visit near Arles-sur-Tech with France This Way reviews

Gorges de la Fou

Gorges de la Fou

In the Gorges de la Fou you can walk along the bottom of one of the deepest gorges in the Pyrenees

Gorges de la Fou guide


Ceret has an extensive historic town centre and a Picasso Museum among its highlights. Among our favourite towns in the western Pyrenees.

Ceret guide
Prats de Mollo la Preste

Prats de Mollo la Preste

In Prats-de-Mollo you will enjoy exploring the historic centre, then the energetic can climb the hill to the Fort Lagarede above the town

Prats de Mollo la Preste guide
Mount Canigou

Mount Canigou

Although not very high, Mont Canigou dominates the landscape and culture of the wetern Pyrenees

Mount Canigou guide


The picturesque village of Castelnou, overlooked by a castle, is one of our favourite Languedoc-Roussillon villages

Castelnou guide


In Ille-sur-Tet it is the remarkable rock formations on the edge of the village that are most interesting to visitors

Ille-sur-Tet guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Pyrenees-Orientales

Address: Arles-sur-Tech, Céret, Languedoc-Roussillon, 66150, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 42.4575, longitude 2.634444

Plan your visit to Arles-sur-Tech, Pyrenees-Orientales

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Gorges de la Fou: site of natural beauty (3 km)
  • Pic de Fontfrède: site of natural beauty (10 km)
  • Pic du Canigou: site of natural beauty (16 km)
  • Massif du Canigou: grand site of france (16 km)
  • Chapel Saint-Martin de Fenollar (Maureillas-las-Illas): religious monument (16 km)
  • Prieuré de Serrabone (Boule-d'Amont): religious monument (16 km)
  • Castelnou: most beautiful village (19 km)
  • Abbaye Saint Martin du Canigou (Casteil): religious monument (20 km)
  • Abbaye Saint Michel de Cuixa (Codalet): religious monument (24 km)
  • Orgues d'Ille-sur-Tet: site of natural beauty (24 km)
  • Chapelle de Casenoves (Ille-sur-tet): religious monument (24 km)
  • Eglise de Sainte-Marie (Corneilla-de-Conflent): religious monument (24 km)

The French version of this page is at Arles-sur-Tech (Francais)